Enemy of the People
Maybe they'll revive the idea of droning him.
The US Dept of Justice will continue pushing for the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday. This comes after a UK judge blocked Assange’s shipment to the States on mental health grounds last month. As a result, the US government faced a deadline of the end of this week to …
... but I'm honestly curious:
If he'd gone to Sweden, faced up to the rape charges, even been convicted, what would he have gotten under Swedish jurisdiction? He wouldn't have been extradited to the USA, I'm quite sure, not by Sweden. (I could be wrong, any Swedes here?)
Would he effectively have had his life back a long time ago?
Of course, he could have then come back to Australia and our government, ever ready to please the US, would have nabbed him for said extradition.
There'd likely have been a lot of more posturing here in Sweden from all sides (there was plenty of it as it was), but I never saw anything that made me think he'd have been handed over to the US. Except in the minds of various paranoid individuals, but that's nothing new.
Personally I think that doing a runner like that was an admission of guilt by him, but it did save the Swedish government quite a bit of money and by extension me as a local taxpayer.
He was high profile enough I think there was a good chance the US would have found ways to pressure Sweden to get him extradited. They obviously prepared the hacking charges to go around the argument (in UK or Sweden) that espionage was political, and I don't think there's any clear reason that wouldn't work in Sweden. Additionally if he was convicted of rape he'd lose some public support, would be at the mercy of decisions to eject him at the end of his sentence or repatriate him to Australia to serve it, and being consistently referred to as 'convicted rapist Julian Assange' would make his legal life generally harder.
It does seem by putting time and health between the alleged offences and extradition he's improved his chances of avoiding US courts, since the suicide thing is working for now. On the other hand if he'd faced them long ago he might've had his sentence commuted alongside Chelsea's and been free for years.
Assange is in trouble because he exposed the things that no one in the UK or the USA wanted exposed. Especially the less newsworthy crimes such as the marine killing a woman and wounding her husband and children because he was “unable to determine the occupants of the vehicle due to the reflection of the sun coming off the windshield”.
On these pages you will read a lot of outrage about Anne Sacoolas, where are the howls for justice for this poor Iraqi woman and her family?
When crimes are viewed as one-off aberrations the home press can play the no true Scotsman card, freely admit that Baha Musa was kicked to death by British troops but stress its uniqueness and rarity. Wikileaks exposed that falsehood and Assange will never be forgiven for it.
> this poor Iraqi woman and her family
That's the problem. She's not a poor Iraqi woman but a person with a name, a family, relations, a life and hopes and dreams just like any of us. Depersonalizing people makes them less than human so easy to dismiss as "a regrettable incident of course but stuff happens".
We shall never know about any crimes that may have been committed in Sweden, however its fairly clear that Uncle Sam already considers him guilty for embarrassing the US hegemony. See also Lynch, Love and others.
Hell what they are still doing to Chelsea Manning even after a Presidential commutation shows just how vengeful the US Govt can be.
What crimes exactly? He hasn't even been to the USA! And he did not spy for anybody, but made the information public to everybody, including the citizens of the USA!
I think his fear is rather that he will not be judged fairly, but for the embarrassment of telling the truth. The mere fact that they actually want to prosecute him for whistle-blowing (something that should be encouraged, not prosecuted), is reason enough not trust the USA to give him a fair trial (he is not even a citizen of the USA and never having been there, so what jurisdiction do they even have?).
We'd have plenty of precedent.
SCOTUS has struck down anti-speech laws before - notably most of the various Federal anti-sedition laws - and one might hope that they'll do so again. The fact that Congress continues to try to restrict speech, and that various courts may have upheld those laws in the past, is no guarantee.
And that's as it should be. I don't like Assange; regardless of his alleged offenses in Sweden, he's a tiresome self-promoter (as, for that matter, is the Wikileaks organization) who greatly overestimates his own importance. But I would very much like to see the US fail to prosecute him. The bar for wielding state power against speech should be very, very high. (This also applies to the nitwits attacking Section 230, etc.)
You open proceedings to extradite the American who's dangerous driving ran over and killed a cyclist who then fled justice to America under the pretext of diplomatic immunity, and we will open proceedings about people who only really publicly embarrassed you (Assange) & a multi-billion dollar company (Lynch), otherwise, jog on...
Necessary but not sufficient, in my opinion.
Extradition should be both fair (i.e., performed equitably and proportionally among all nations that agree to it) and rare, since it rarely serves the genuine interests of the people. Even then, though, I'd be reluctant to support it except for extraordinary cases where prosecutors could make a persuasive argument that it serves the cause of justice and will remediate some harm that can't be otherwise addressed.
I can conceive of such an argument for Sacoolas, though I'm not sure I would make it, if I were in that position. I can't think of one for Assange or Lynch. For the former, I'm not persuaded by the state's fetish for secrecy. The latter is really a civil matter that was trumped up into a criminal one in order to please some wealthy, well-connected individuals and advance some prosecutors' careers.
What is "normal journalistic practice" these days? Just what "normal" practice of any trade or profession these days.
Perhaps this Learned Beak hasn't heard of Spycatcher - the candid autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer memoir of PETER WRIGHT, former MI5 officer and Assistant Director,
Then there's DANIEL ELLESBERG who did his bit for freedom.
The publishing business, as has many others, been revolutionised by the InterNet - blogs, websites, etc.
The US wants REVENGE, especially after Ms. MANNING had her near life sentence commuted.
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